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Business continuity management is the practice of preparing a business to continue should a disaster occur. Proper planning and a well-trained staff can help a company recover quickly from even devastating events. Businesses can succeed in establishing business continuity in their organizations by learning how to develop the right staff, discussing plans with suppliers, developing a list of contacts, and creating emergency management plans for specific events.
The first step toward business continuity management is deciding who will lead the planning process and who will coordinate recovery and rebuilding efforts during and after an event. Each department could have an assigned business continuity management coordinator. These team leaders should meet on a regular basis and provide updates to senior management who have been assigned to lead the effort.
The members of a business' supply chain should also be part of the business continuity management planning effort. Each supplier should be interviewed and asked about its own emergency management plan. Their plans should be based on whatever disaster scenarios they could face, from political upheaval to natural disasters to terrorism. If they were to suffer one of these losses and be unable to supply a product, then the companies they do business with would suffer as well. Suppliers should also be able to prove that their business operations can withstand the ups and downs of their clients, including when the clients' demand for supplies increases dramatically.
Another key tip for business continuity management is prevention. Although some catastrophes cannot be stopped, the damage that they cause to business operations can be mitigated. For some natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes, business properties can be strengthened so that can withstand high winds or strong earth shaking. For pandemics, on the other hand, human resources policies can be put into place, like allowing employees to work from home, that could help prevent the spread of disease.
To handle the actual event as it is occurring, crisis management should also be an essential part of business continuity management. Crisis management plans can be designed to handle specific scenarios, such as an approaching hurricane or a terrorist attack at a company facility nearby. Part of the business continuity management here would involve planning ways to evacuate employees and ways to keep in touch with them after they leave the premises.
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